Technique: Gatekeeper’s Giza EP

A song-by-song breakdown of the precise sonics that created the black, endless ride through the depths of night.

I. CHAINS
‘Chains’ is basically for an endless night ride through the depths of a CG hell-scape. It actually took quite awhile for us to complete…The X-files/Tomita break was not the easiest thing to insert into the middle of an industrial club track at full blast. We started with the bass line, written on the Sequential Circuits Pro One, and then programmed some handmade new beat kits (via Logic’s Ultrabeat). The dialog is borrowed from Diablo II PC cinematics and Hellraiser II (via YouTube).

II. STORM COLUMN
Storm Column was designed specifically to open dimensional portals and so far it seems to work… The MS20 12db resonating filter noise pulse that carries the choruses was our first chance to sequence and sync the Korg MS20 inside a Logic session, via the instrument’s patch bay. A lot of failed attempts before it actually worked. The second time was for the bendy square wave lead in the section that follows. The spiraling Vangelis-arps and pitch-bendy baselines are all Pro One, swirling in filter modulations, automated reverb swells and the appearance of our favorite Ensoniq ESQ1 bass preset “KLUNKS”.

III. SERPENT
Serpent opens with a fucked Pro-One acid-knock bass-line drenched in dungeon verb. The sequence develops with the addition of some classic “rock beat” drum programming and ‘oriental’ detuned Korg PolySix arpeggios, swooping in like winged Nazgûl over a mountainous pine forest. The lead that carries the second half of the track was an exercise in blending; we recorded several instruments playing the melody (Korg Wavestation, Roland JD800, Kawai K1, Roland Juno-6) and faded between them so that the sonic character is constantly changing, from a majestic analog lead to a moss-covered digital pan flute and back again. The monks are sampled from 16th century Byzantine recordings.

IV. GIZA
This track originally began as a tribute to the “final search” theme from the Friday the 13th soundtrack, which is actually still intact in the first 4 bars. It morphed pretty quickly into techno-tritone pan flute stabs from the Korg Wavestation and a TR-909 kick (via shitty digital emulator). For us, the track conjures up images of Westly Snipes in Egypt, dusting vamp-ravers inside of a crowded nightclub. The mystic Oberhiem Matrix-6 FM bell lead undoes some of the tension, adding an other-worldly glow to all the intense shit going on. Korg PolySix detuned synth strings, the only remnants of the initial “final search” quote, add some dissonance throughout.

V. MIRAGE
This song has existed in countless forms before the one that appears on the record, so for us its actually a mirage, we can’t look at it directly otherwise it will disappear. It drives on a close-but-not-really syncd relentless Pro One acid sequence of only three notes, with extreme envelope control over reverb & delay effects, getting sucked into a master compressor. The opening synths pads are sampled from Microchip Leauge’s ‘power plant’ and the vocals are re-pitched adhan morning prayers (via youtube). We were going for some 5th Element techno vibes here.

VII. ORACLE
We made ‘Oracle’ with layers of pro-one arpeggios, percussive zaps and pitched down dogs barking. Duel oscillator mono-synths make parallel harmony really easy, so for this we tuned the pro-one’s oscillators a 4th apart to create the main weird pentatonic bass line. Our other favorite Ensoniq ESQ-1 preset, “Mixed” male choir, makes a classy appearance, along with Roland JD800 (RIP) piano stabs. The lead melody is a loose adaptation of a theme from the Never-ending Story soundtrack. We also recorded Matthew breathing for some downbeat punctuation.

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